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Turmeric

 

Turmeric

Curcuma domestica
Family Zingiberaceae

 

History

Turmeric has been used in India for more than 5000 years now. Initially it was cultivated as a dye as its’ vivid yellow colour works brilliantly as a colouring agent. Then its highly developed uses were came to know and people started using it for cosmetic and beautification purposes and eventually as a medicine.  Later it was became popular as a spice. Originating in India turmeric had reached China by 700 A.D, East Africa by 800 A.D and West Africa by 1200 A.D. Then it had begun to become popular all through the world. It is known that the Arab traders had carried turmeric with them to Europe in the 13th centaury.

Products and Uses

Turmeric is available in the market as in a whole dried form or in a powdered form. It is also used as an ingredient in preparation of curry mixtures. Oils and oleoresins are extracted from turmeric which is mainly used as coloring and flavoring agent in the food industry.  
Turmeric is mainly used as a flavoring and coloring agent in the food industry. It is also used as a coloring in textiles and preparation of specific paints. In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine turmeric is a common ingredient. In India turmeric is largely used as a disinfectant in day today life and in religious ceremonies.

Major Growing Areas

Turmeric is grown in wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka as a mono crop and an inter crop under coconut.  Major growing districts are Kurunagala, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy and Matale districts.

Varieties

Though there are number of locally grown varieties they are not specially identified. There are imported varieties namely, Gunter, Puna and Madurasi Majal. and they have been mixed with local varieties.

Soils and Climatic needs

Soil
Many soil types are suitable. However well drained sandy loam soils rich with organic matter are the most suitable soil type. Ill drained rocky or clay type soils are not suitable.

Climate
Altitude: up to 1500 MSL
Rain fall: For the successful growth annual rain fall should be 1500mm or high. However turmeric can be grown in the dry zone under irrigation.
Temperature: 20 ºC – 35º C    
p.H – 5.5 – 6.5
Shade: Medium shade is most suitable. High shade declines the yield. Can grow successfully as an inter crop with coconut and banana.
Season: Main season- March April
Minor season - October-November

Crop establishment

Planting material:
There are two types of rhizomes as mother rhizomes and finger rhizomes. Matured finger rhizomes are the most suitable planting material. Piece of rhizome should be 40-50g in weight and be with 1-2 buds. Planting material should be disease free and selected from a high yielding cultivation. Before planting, rhizomes should be immersed in a fungicide for about 5 minutes to avoid fungal growth during planting.
Planting material requirement is 2500kg/ha.

Field Planting
Turmeric is planted in raised beds or ridges. Field should be ploughed up to 35-40cm in depth and tilling soil is done. Beds are 1m in width and length is vary with the space available. However when inter cropped with coconut width and length can be changed according to the available space. Height of the bed is about 15cm and drains, with 50cm in depth, should be prepared in between beds.
Spacing – between rows – 30cm
between plants – 25cm
03 rows per bed
Planting depth - 5-7.5cm               
Planting should be done after the rain. If no adequate moisture beds should be irrigated.

Crop management

Mulching
To protect moisture and to keep weeds under arrest mulching should be done immediately after planting. Straw, coir dust, dry leaves or coconut leaves are most suitable mulching material.

Fertilizer application
To add adequate Ca and Mg dolomite is mixed with the soil immediately after ploughing at the rate of 1-2 mt. /ha. To get a higher yield saw dust ash also added to the soil at the rate of 3-4kg/sq, meter of the bed during land preparation period.

Fertilizer recommendation

 

Time

Organic fertilizer

Urea(kg)

TSP (kg)

MOP (kg)

Basal

At the time of planting

20 mt

 

100

 

1st app.

After 01 months

-

65

 

100

2nd app.

After 03 months

-

65

 

100

Fertilizer is applied after weeding and should be mixed with the soil. After that beds should be mulched. Fertilizer is applied with rain or should be irrigated after fertilizer application.     
In addition glyricidia leaves can be added as an organic fertilizer and thereby can cut down the need of chemical fertilizer and to protect the soil moisture.

Weeding
Weeding has to be done after one month of planting. The second weeding is done after three months of planting and the beds should be mulched again to protect the moisture. Cleaning drains and earthling up also done with the weeding.

Crop Protection

Diseases
Leaf scorching
Caused by a fungus. Yellow patches appears first and then spread to the whole leaf.  At the serious stage leaves look scorched. Agronomic practices and cultural methods are used as protection measures and if the problem is serious Macozeb-2 is sprayed.
Other diseases in turmeric are Leaf blotch, leaf rot and Rhizome rot.

Pests
Stem borer
Stem borer is the major pest attacks to turmeric cultivation. Adult moth lays eggs in leaf sheaths and caterpillar enters to the pseudo stem and damages the internal tissues of the plant. Initially plants become yellow then turn into brown and die. Dead heart symptom is the clear evidence to identify the presence of stem borer. Damaged plant parts have to be destroyed to control the spread and if the condition is serious recommended insecticide has to be sprayed.    
Leaf rolling caterpillars and scale insects are other minor pest attacks.

Harvesting and Post Harvest practices

Harvesting
Harvesting is done after 8-10 months of planting. If planted in March-April Season turmeric is ready to be harvested by December – January. During that time plants become yellow in colour and start leaves drying. Harvesting is done with care not to damage rhizomes and attached soil clusters should be removed with a wooden stick.

Processing
Mother and finger rhizomes should be separated, washed thoroughly and remove all stem parts. They should be left for about a day for wilting. Mother rhizomes should be cut into pieces. Rhizomes should be boiled well in a closed pot filled with ¾ of water. When boiled properly rhizomes become tender. Instead of water steam boiling can also be applied. Pressure cookers can also be used to boil a few kilo grams of turmeric. Boiled rhizomes should be left in-door for about a day and then put for sun drying. Drying in first three days is limited to 3-4 hours and after that continues drying is must. Whole drying process requires 10-15 days. When dried properly, metallic sound can be heard. Dried rhizomes are rubbed on a rough surface to become them to bright yellow in color.    
 

Standard quality specifications


 

Moisture

9%

Curcumin 5-6%
Extraneous matter (to physical weight) 0.5%
Essential oil 3-5%

 

Medicinal and Chemical Properties

Main chemical compound in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin content vary from 2-6% depending on the species.

Last Updated on Monday, 16 August 2010 12:02